Participants in action during the inaugural round of the Formula Regional Middle East Championship at the Dubai Autodrome.
The inaugural round of the new Giti Tire-powered Formula Regional Middle East Championship Certified by FIA (FRMEC) was dramatic.
When the dust settled at the Dubai Autodrome from three sensational races with 27 high-quality, international drivers, a trio of young talents were celebrating victories — despite none of them being in leading positions in the championship.
After two years being based exclusively in the UAE, the Formula Regional Asian Championship decided that in 2023, it would become a multi-nation series with one of its Emirati rounds swapped for a trip to Kuwait.
Chris Bloor, Executive Director International Sales & Marketing at Giti Tire, commented: “These high octane races provide a unique platform for Giti to test tires. In these races, Giti is able to push the tires to the extreme under the most challenging conditions. This also provides the unique opportunity for incredible achievements born from the synergy between our engineering and racing teams.”
In the inaugural race held at the Dubai Autodrome recently, Nikhil Bohra took advantage of the reversed-grid pole position of race two. R-ace GP’s 17-year-old Singaporean did not miss a beat in holding his lead all the way from the beginning, ahead of fellow Formula Regional rookie Aiden Neate (Prema Racing).
Another rising star, Taylor Barnard was once again on the move, rising from behind the pack in eighth position to claim third by the end of the race.
After placing in 12th and 13th positions in the opening two races, Spanish talent Mari Boya claimed all the glory in the finale. The 18-year-old driver of the Hyderabad Blackbirds by MP Motorsport qualified his team’s car in second place, and got ahead of poleman, Andrea Kimi Antonelli on the opening lap of the final race.
Boya left the Mumbai Falcons Rookie Cup winner, Antonelli, behind for the rest of the race to take a clear victory, with Pinnacle VAR’s Thai racer, Tasanapol Inthraphuvasak, taking home third.
With fourth and sixth positions from earlier races to add to his second in the finale, Italian Antonelli has moved into an early championship lead. Antonelli, who is supported by the Mercedes Formula 1 team, is six points ahead of his Mumbai Falcons teammate and Ferrari’s Brazilian protege, Rafael Camara, with Taylor Barnard a further two points behind.
Clearly this intense battle is taking shape before the second round at the Kuwait Motor Town for round 2 on January 27 to 28, 2023 and round 3 on January 31 to February 1, 2023.
The 21-year-old Lin won his first title in 2017 at Royal Wellington by three shots, after closing with a birdie and an eagle, and then reclaimed the crown from Japan’s Takumi Kanaya when he defeated him in a playoff for the 2019 championship at Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai.
The new schedule of the annual competitions encapsulates 14 main tournaments which get under way in December and run until the end of March next year.
On the opening day on Monday, the UAE’s national men's team played their debut match against Brazil, while the women's team faced Paraguay.
The Championship, which starts on Nov. 27, has attracted 48 teams, both boys and girls, and 720 players representing these teams will play 143 matches in six different age categories until the finale in April.
Both teams will first meet in two 50-over warm-up games on Dec.25 and 27 respectively, and is followed by three T20Is scheduled to be played on Dec.29 and 31, plus on Jan.2 at Sharjah International Cricket Stadium.
Leaders Al Wasl will look to consolidate their position on the top of the table when they take on rivals Al Wahda in their Round 10 match of the Pro League on Friday.
CEO Mauro Gianetti emphasised the team's role in driving positive social impact and supporting the UAE's decarbonisation goals through a comprehensive sustainability programme.